A comprehensive new survey undertaken for The Israel Victory Project shows for the first time the attitudes of the Israeli public regarding Operation Guardian of the Walls and the official policy regarding Hamas. Midgam Research and Consulting conducted the survey for the Middle East Forum following the recent conflict with Hamas. It asked 22 questions in Hebrew or Russian on May 27-31 of 503 Jewish Israeli respondents. The poll has a margin of error of 4.4%.
82% of respondents to the poll agreed with the statement that “There can be no appeasing Hamas; only by defeating it unequivocally can we bring this conflict to an end. Likewise, 70% agreed that “There can be no deals with terrorist organizations, only defeat. Israel must use all its military, diplomatic and economic means to crush Hamas’ will to continue fighting.”
However, when asked if they believe Israel won the recent conflict with Hamas, only one third, 35%, said Israel, even though 51% thought that Operation Guardian of the Walls was more successful than Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
68% of respondents believed that the operation ended prematurely and supported the statement: “The operation should have continued until Hamas’ ability and will to attack Israel was destroyed and the hostages and bodies in Gaza were returned.” Only 20% supported the ceasefire.
Nevertheless, 74% of respondents thought that the government made the right decision to refrain from entering Gaza in a ground operation.
As for international pressure to end the operation, a large majority of respondents believe that Israel’s interest should be put ahead of the demands of the international community. 60% of respondents chose this option, compared to 33% who said the demands of the international community should be taken into account.
Regarding questions of what actions Israel should take following the operation, 90% support or strongly support the assassination of Hamas leaders, 76% support the cessation of Qatar funding for the Gaza Strip, 74% support stopping the supply of building materials, those that can have dual purpose, into the Gaza Strip.
When given options of what the respondents’ belief should be the goal of any future operation, 29% believe that it should be the unconditional return of all Israeli captives, 24% believe that the goal should be to disarm Hamas, 22% want the next round to deter Hamas and ensure peace for the residents of the south.
Middle East Forum Executive Director Greg Roman said in reaction to the results: “A new government is currently being formed in Israel and its duty is to institute a new policy towards Hamas. The Israeli public deserves leadership which knows how to win. The poll results demonstrate that the Israeli public wants their leaders to stop managing the conflict and begin working to defeat Hamas, disarm it, and return the Israeli captives. Only through an unequivocal victory that can arrive through economic, military and political means, while standing strongly in the face of international pressure, can the conflict be won and finally ended.”
The Israeli Victory Project is a grassroots Israeli movement led by the Middle East Forum, that brings together bereaved families, residents of the south, reservists, IDF veterans, and others, who have come together to seek a change in government policy and promote the idea of an “Israel victory” and the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.